SingTel, Progress Software launch PaaS to target ISVs

The joint partnership to offer platform-as-a-service targets Asia's independent software vendors looking to add cloud-based functionalities to their existing and future applications.

SINGAPORE--Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) and Progress Software have collaborated to launch a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering, which they say will provide "easy entry" for independent software vendors (ISVs) in Asia and beyond to develop cloud-based applications and capitalize on the cloud computing trend.

At a media briefing here on Wednesday, the companies said Progress Software's OpenEdge application development platform will be hosted on SingTel's infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) service PowerOn Alatum to constitute the PaaS offering, and they will go to market together to promote the new service.

"We were missing a PaaS offering [in our cloud portfolio]," said Alvin Kok, head of infocomm services, business group at SingTel, during the briefing. As such, the partnership with Progress Software brings with it the middle layer between IaaS and software-as-a-service (SaaS) as well as the latter's pool of ISV partners, which will increase SingTel's range of cloud offerings, he explained.

Progress Software has some 1,500 existing ISV customers across several sectors, of which about 600 have already deployed their apps on the cloud, according to Keith Budge, its vice president and managing director for Asia-Pacific and Japan.

Budge, who was also at the briefing, said this was the U.S. company's first application PaaS collaboration with an IaaS provider. He said the SingTel partnership was not just about offering a software development platform but to offer an ecosystem of support with SingTel's brand name, which is known across the Asia-Pacific region.

The vice president added that the move to cloud is the "single biggest trend" that has happened in the IT industry in decades, and expects more business apps to be fully cloud-based in time to come.

Through this tie-up, ISVs, especially startups or small and midsized businesses (SMBs), will have more trust and confidence to come onboard the platform and develop their cloud apps, he said, adding that this move was prompted by its customers.

Kok agreed, saying SingTel's position as a telco and Internet service provider (ISP) is advantageous because without a reliable and secure Internet, these vendors' cloud applications will not work.

Vendor lock-in "inevitable"
As to whether its PaaS offering will help address companies' vendor lock-in fears, Budge said when it comes to picking a platform , some sort of lock-in is inevitable. The customer would have made a decision to stay with the vendor and, with it, its choice of development tools and languages, he explained.

The inevitable lock-in is not a deliberate strategy on a PaaS vendor's part to retain customers, he said, adding only "great service and prices" are used to help keep companies satisfied.

The Progress Software executive added the collaboration will target its existing customers as well as companies wanting to build brand new cloud apps from scratch, all of which he said is a "sizeable" pool. The partnership will not be limited to ISVs in Asia, but will provide an "easy entry" for developers in other regions to enter the Asian market and capitalize on its growth trend.